Monday, October 24, 2011

The Tale of the Red Ants, Condensed

Perhaps some day I’ll tell the full “Tale of the Red Ants” (it involves another person and I don’t have permission) but for today, I’ll simply say: the bottom line is that I learned my style of solving problems isn’t very effective. And I finally have an idea of what might be better.

You see, I tend to focus on the problems in my life. I beat them to death and analyze them until 2 AM. However, when I do this, it’s a lot like invading a red-ants’ nest and expecting to have some peace and quiet while I solve the problem. The ants get so mad that they bite me; and I respond by slapping/killing/stepping on them. It’s a vicious cycle and nothing really improves.

The big paradigm shift was that I needed to step away from the problems altogether. I needed to find a place where it’s safe to sit down and sit still. I needed to focus on what I wanted instead of how to avoid what I didn’t want. In the experience, when I found a new spot of ground away from the red ants, I even made friends with a little black ant, who preferred being on my hand more than on the mountainside. We both had a lot of joy because of it.

Today, this lesson took on another new application:

Brynn isn’t doing well.

We’ve had major diarrhea (+ more) since coming home from the hospital. She's also vomited and retched countless times in the last week (I didn’t even know it was possible to retch without a fundo, and yet she does). So it turns out—at least in the near term—that not only was the problem NOT fixed by surgery, but now we’ve added a whole host of other problems, too.

I even dreaded church (and I never dread church) because of the questions. I know people only ask because they care, and I usually don’t mind answering, but this time I didn’t have the answers. And, frankly, I couldn’t bear to hear the questions without crying because I wanted NOTHING more than to have those answers. Even still, no matter what I tried, I was not getting anywhere. The familiar feeling reminded me of the red ants.

So here I am now. Perhaps it’s time to refocus. Perhaps it’s time to sit down and sit still. Perhaps it’s time to see—and create—simple, daily joys. I gave this idea a try today and it brought a lot of peace.

I like the peace.

So I’ll work again tomorrow to keep my focus on the present. And, just like I found with the little black ant, maybe Brynn and I will find more joy, too.

2011Res: To Matt: I appreciated your help so I could nap today. To my girls: today I savored your ability to make me laugh even when I didn't feel like laughing...I was in the kitchen when I overheard Brynn say, "This is a tampon, Heidi!"

Dear Mr H: today I told my mom how great you are--loud enough so you could hear--because I wanted you to know I love you.

4 comments:

Anna said...

"This is a tampon, Heidi." lol

I'm sorry that things aren't looking up. :( It makes me really sad! I hope you don't regret putting her through that surgery, though, because if you never had then you never would have known. It seems to me that it was worth the try.

If you ever want to get together with our vomiting preemies, you are more than welcome to come over. My carpets already stink of vomit, so I really don't care if Brynn throws up on them. First we can talk about how awful it is to watch our kids throw up uncontrollably, day after day, and then we can talk about something different to get our minds off of it. :) Maybe I'll make us some treats to celebrate that I'm still pregnant.

BTW, we haven't taken Caleb to church in three or four weeks because the vomiting is so out of control. Last time he was in Nursery he threw up (like the three times before that), and another little boy followed suit. It was awful. I don't know if we can ever show our faces in Nursery again!

Alyson said...

They look beautiful! And LOL about the tampon. Amazed that she knew the name! But each of us has those personal female products moments with the kids, I remember Libby and Jackson trying to "clean the floor" with pads stuck to their feet.

My prayers are still with you guys. I hope that Brynn's wee little body will adjust to everything. (Maybe the diarrhea is not connected to the undo fundo per se? Maybe she's eating so much more orally that she's encountered a food that she's not handling well? Silly thought coming from a wife of a man who gets diarrhea if he eats meat or peanut butter, but who ate them all his life anyway because everyone eats meat and peanut butter and no one ever thought such mundane items might not agree with him.) I just want to protect you all while you figure it out. *hugs*

Amy said...

I'm glad Brynn is taking her obligation to educate her little sister seriously. And I'm very glad you don't have an infestation of red ants at your house, because that would be too much to deal with. I'm very sorry you don't have any answers to Brynn's problems. I like the analogy of the red ants. Let Heavenly Father take care of them for you; we mortals can only do so much, and faith will get us farther. God bless...I always enjoy your posts.

The Hunsakers said...

I'm glad I'm not the only one who has a kid who always gets into the tampon boxes. It drives Rob crazy! haha. We enjoy following your blog. Hope things improve with Brynn soon! You are one amazing mother!